I am happy to announce that I’ve signed a contact for my current book project, From Hyperspace to Hypertext: Masculinity, Globalization, and Their Discontents, with Palgrave Macmillan. My proposal outlines ten chapters, organized into three parts to describe the development of U.S. science fiction before 1970.

In this book, I juxtapose canonical figures from the formation of the genre with important voices that have until recently been marginalized. I show how archival sources can help show how science fiction played a role in the social construction of gender and racial norms relevant to science and engineering.

Instead of explaining away the prejudice exhibited by some authors of classic science fiction as unconscious bias, I argue that the genre provides a window onto what was then a new social co-construction of masculinity and engineering. Adapting a methodology from masculinity and queer studies, I show how historical analysis can reveal vivid interconnections among imperialism, masculinity, and innovation. The authors in my study offer important insights into fighting prejudice, show the importance of the interconnected global community of authors and readers, and provide potential creators of culture options to challenge racism, sexism, and xenophobia.

Each of the three parts is dedicated to one of the iconic editors of science fiction along with other important writers:

  1. Hugo Gernsback (with E. E. “Doc” Smith, David H. Keller, L. Taylor Hansen, Clare Winger Harris, and Leslie F. Stone)
  2. John W. Campbell (with C. L. Moore, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and Leigh Brackett)
  3. Judith Merril (with Ted Sturgeon and Samuel Delany)

Scholars have begun to point to a gap in science fiction studies, noticing the genre’s connections to imperialism and negative depictions of racial others. I examine a central concern of science fiction: creating a future vision of globalized humanity where national and racial differences have been ameliorated. Depictions of the Other and of white masculine heroes reinforce each other, which can be seen with a look at the way science fiction helped to create a vision of white masculinity.

This project originated with my doctoral dissertation, which won an award from my program for the best dissertation involving interdisciplinary work. However, it became clear to me that something was missing after teaching science fiction classes for students studying science and engineering, engaging with the university’s effort to broaden the diversity of students in STEM by creating a more inclusive environment, and speaking at national and international conferences. As a result, the contents have been substantially revised.

One lesson I have learned from the last 10 years of fostering diversity in science and engineering has been that supporting roles for women and people of color is not enough to foster an inclusive atmosphere. The effort to promote equity, helping more people take part, must feature discussion of how the standards and practices that inhibit efforts to diversify are almost invisible. Tempered by my many years of teaching science fiction at universities and supporting efforts to enhance DEI, this study takes a fresh look at the key figures in the story of the genre, updated with insights from the effort to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in science and engineering.

I expect that the book will be available in late 2022.